Category Archives: Seasonal

ZAC Staff Backpack Grand Canyon

In an ongoing pursuit to further explore, appreciate and acquaint ourselves with the beauty and mystery of the Southwest, a backpacking trip in the off-season seemed both appropriate and necessary. Over the course of 4 days from January 7-10, 2014, four of us set out to conquer or be conquered by the great and vast landscape of the Grand Canyon. Upon our arrival at the South Rim (about a 5 hour drive from Springdale through Kanab and Page) we found ourselves eagerly greeted at the backcountry desk. Winter crowds and weather at the Grand Canyon are far more mellow than those in the Summer. Attaining the appropriate permits for our planned route was quite easy. Grand Canyon permits cost a bit more than those at Zion ($5 per person per night plus an additional $10 processing fee). Having acquired our permit, it was time to visit the viewpoints at South Rim. We participated in “ooohing” and “ahhhing” at the expanse that unfolded before us. We had one final logistical detail to take care of. Our beginning and ending trailheads for the trip were approximately 5 miles apart, so we stashed a bike in the woods near our destination. For our … Continue reading

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Field Trip to Toroweap, Grand Canyon National Park

Living in the shadows of Zion National Park, sometimes it’s hard to understand that there can be beauty anywhere else. Two weeks ago, several staff members took a day trip to check out Toroweap and the Grand Canyon. So after a quick stop at Deep Creek Coffee in Springdale, the ZAC staff drove the four and a half hours to check out the canyon. The drive begins with crossing through something familiar, and occasionally routine for me, Zion National Park. On our drive, bighorn sheep and mule deer greeted us as we drove through the east side. Since we left early in the morning, we were lucky enough to catch some of the sunrise on our drive. Between the majestic colors and good conversation, the drive went by quickly. The town of Fredonia is a small Arizona border town. And no road trip through a border town is complete without a stop for Lottery, Guns, Ammo, and Beer! So after a brief stop filling up our coffee cups and Landcruiser at Judd’s Auto, we moved on. We eventually turned onto a dirt road for beautiful views of desert plains and distant mountains for 60 long, rutted miles. At this point, … Continue reading

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Filson Outdoor Clothing Features ZAC Guide Ben Rhinesmith

Our very own Ben Rhinesmith was recently profiled in Filson’s “In the Field” section of their website. In the video, Ben guides the Filson crew down Battle Creek, a high country canyon southeast of Kolob Reservoir, while talking a little bit about his guiding approach and philosophy.

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Zion Narrows Fall Colors Video

Long-time ZAC client Jerry King visits us at least every year, regularly recording his hikes and canyon descents via video and still images. When Jerry gets home, he puts together some nice informational videos about the adventures he goes on. If you are thinking about doing a Zion Narrow Through-Hike, check out Jerry’s movie to learn about the hike and see the Narrows in prime fall color splendor.

Posted in Autumn, Canyoneering, Seasonal, The Narrows, Trip Reports, Videos, Zion | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Imlay Canyon Trip Report, 9.2.2012

Went through Full Imlay Canyon with Steve Brezovec and Kelly Birdwell – to enjoy the canyon, of course, and to work on the anchors. Found some interesting things. We started the canyon from Potato Hollow, from the very tip-top there, a few hundred yards higher than I had before. We used a retrievable anchor off a tree in order to not leave a sling visible to the public. Downcanyon a ways, we found a tied off rock for the third stage of a rappel that can be done as a three-stage rap. This rock as cleverly wedged in a slot, but was tied off with some cord which was quite pretty, but had a core of paper (indicating that this cord was never intended for any purpose requiring strength). Further down, we found an anchor tied with a non-knot (versus a Water Knot)… but I guess it held for whomever tied it. Quite a few anchors in the canyon were tied with the Minnesota-clip style of equalization – especially scary since on a lot of these two-bolt anchors, one bolt is an ancient eroded stud-type bolt (very unreliable). We re-rigged 4 or 5 anchors usually with fresh webbing. The upper … Continue reading

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Virgin River Flash Flood Video

Mike and Seth caught some revealing footage of the Virgin River in scary flash flood mode as it carried a huge cottonwood tree down-river like an insignificant Poohstick. See how dark the water is? The color comes from the high load of silt, mud, and rock the river picks up in a flood event. 95% of the erosion in Zion happens in punctuated events like this, where sudden, heavy rains create high-volume, high-velocity river conditions that pick up tons and tons of sediment and move it downstream. Once the momentum gets going, all that debris can scour banks and displace large areas of sediment, replacing ankle-deep shallows with deep pools, and vice-versa. It’s super fun to explore the river after a flood event like this and try to find the best “new” swimming holes the flood has created. The guys filmed this footagee just above the Springdale River Park, where we pick up tubers at the end of their runs. Seems like tubing would be a little extreme with that amount of water and debris in the river, don’t you think? If you want to see a flash flood, I highly recommend a viewing it from a safe place like this, … Continue reading

Posted in Natural History, Safety, Seasonal, Springdale, Summer, The Narrows, Tubing, Weather & Climate, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Spry Canyon Flash Flood Video, July 11, 2012

Flash flood videos can’t do justice to the real thing, but this video from Spry Canyon last Monday (7/11) offers an educative perspective. The narrators’ emotions perhaps say more about the danger than the actual video… these two guys are clearly scared, excited, and riveted by the crashing, dynamic conditions. They literally have no idea what might happen, how high the water might rise, what debris might come crashing down to them. A scary situation. Were these guys in danger? It’s really difficult to say. Obviously, the water came up quite a bit while they were there, and they seem trapped in the alcove they are in by the middle of the video. But they seem to feel safe in their perch, amazed and lucky they weren’t stuck in a worse position in the canyon. As they point out, their next anchor is 1-2 feet under water by mid-video, and even as the waterfall slows toward the end, they point out how the overall depth just keeps rising. The parting shot shows the red webbing anchor filled with debris, hinting at the surge that receded only minutes before. The weather forecast on this date was not obvious: 40% chance of … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Flash Flooding, Outdoor Leadership, Safety, Summer, Trip Reports, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Prepare Yourself for Spring Break Bustle in Zion

Easter Break is ALWAYS an exciting time at Zion Adventure Company, as Training Season transitions to Busy Season and the quiet season official ends. It always feel a little crazy, but it’s also a lot of fun. We love it when Easter falls a little later (anytime in April, really), as it gives us an extra week or two to get new staff up to speed before they jump into the fire. If YOU are visiting this week or next, you can help us make your ZAC visit really smooth by doing a few easy things: 1. Set your watch! If you are coming from Las Vegas or Arizona, Zion (and Utah) is one hour ahead of those time zones. Many visitors are disappointed when they arrive “on time,” only to discover they are actually one hour late. Oops! 2. Note our hours. We are open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM. Sometime folks see people walking in and out before 8 AM: these are guided trip clients, who we try to depart with before things get busy at 8 AM. If you arrive before we open, please wait outside patiently while we get the store in order. Thanks … Continue reading

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Is The Zion Narrows Hike Open? A DIY Guide

Every day now, we hear one question more than any other: “Is The Narrows hike open?” We are always happy to answer this question for our store visitors, but we’d also like to help you answer this yourself at home, on the road, or wherever you may be. If you want to see whether The Narrows is open, just check the USGS website. The data you’re looking for is in the areas highlighted in the red boxes below: USGS Narrows Stream Flow Data for the Virgin River Narrows The upper red box (the graph) usually shows continuous cubic feet/second (CFS) data. (For some reason, the data has large gaps over the last few days; this is not normal.) The Narrows is OPEN, if the CFS level has not exceed 150 CFS for the past 24 hours. Even with the gaps in this current graph, we can see the CFS level was around 165 yesterday morning, so The Narrows is closed today. The lower red box indicates the current CFS level. While the data is current listed as “unavailable,” there is typically a CFS number here indicating current conditions. Remember, however, that the current CFS level is less important than the 24-hour … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Seasonal, Spring, The Narrows, Zion, Zion National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Interesting Weather Coming to Zion This Weekend

The National Weather Service is predicting some interesting weather in Southern Utah this weekend, including: • Record-breaking warm temperatures on Saturday • Strong winds, with 40 – 65 MPH wind gusts Saturday afternoon/evening • A drastic (25 – 40 degrees F) drop in temperature overnight, with valley rain and mountain snow on Sunday If you are thinking, “Oh no… Looks like a horrible weekend in Zion,” think again! Zion is often at it’s best during turbulent weather, and this weekend looks like a fantastic opportunity to see Zion in full splendor. Interesting weather is great for photography, especially if Zion Canyons gets iced with snow on Sunday morning, which dramatically accents all the cliffs and crags. And Saturday looks like it will be BEAUTIFUL, full-on shorts-and-tshirts weather. So come up or down or however YOU get to Zion, and we’ll be happy to greet you for the natural festivities, whatever they are!

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